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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I've recently developed RSI/tendinitis in both arms after doing about 3-10 hours of practice and playing per day. I know I'm not the first sax player to ever do this amount of practice and I know I'm not the first to get RSI but I was wondering how come Coltrane, Cannonball and Parker never got it, or did they?

They all practiced like machines and I've never heard any horror stories about them, yet in my uni course RSI is a pretty big problem and I'm seeing so many people develop problems. Any thoughts?

Cheers,


Josh
 

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Non Resident SOTW Eccentric & 2012 Forum Contribut
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Check out musicianshealth.com and make sure you are warming up and stretching and then stretching during stops . Make sure your sax is set up so you doesn't strain when you play. RSI isn't actually caused by doing the same thing over and over again, it's doing the same thing over and over in a way that isn't ergonomically correct for your body. One of the factors in my switching to my JK sop were the ergo's were way better for my hands than any other that I tried. EVen with that if I let my posture get sloppy after a few hours I can feel the strain building. It also takes months if not years to be able to play correctly without strain so for many it is best to start out with only a few hours a day and build up to the long periods.
 

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Because he wasn't tense and gradually build his stamina
 

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I am going to be nasty here.

He never had it because the condition didn't " exist" at the time.

This condition definitely exists, I am not saying that it is imaginary, but there is also a huge psychosomatic component and its incidence has been varying and certainly increasing when people became more aware or were made more aware of its existence.

Similarly there are countries where surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome has become a routine (and it is now on a decrease) and other countries where surgery is hardly ever used. I know many people in Italy, for example, who got an operation while I don't know anyone , among friends and other people whom I know in Holland who has been operated upon.

A few years ago, in Holland , in every office there were lots of sufferers and lots of money was spent on special treatment, operations, special equipment (keyboards, trackballs, armrests..........you name it) , now the condition seems to have been becoming less of a problem in spite of an evident increase of computer use at home (which should have led to even more sufferers).
 

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Back in the day people did not 'go on' about aches and pains whether they were musical or not. Some of the big name musicians suffered all sorts of infirmities especially dental/oral trouble. What about Roland Kirk? Sonny Stitt--I believe he had mouth cancer--terrible.

Milandro is quite right in the above post---much food for thought?
 

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In short, RSI is not an inevitable result of long practice sessions. Also, Parker and Coltrane died young. If they had continued with the punishing practice regimes they employed when young into old age who's to say what injuries they might have picked up?

I also agree with everything Jazzaferi said about warming up etc. What do your profs/teachers have to say about this issue? I actually think a few targeted exercises to strengthen wrists and hands wouldn't be such a bad idea - a physio/sports therapist could probably help with that one.

Please note i am NOT a doctor or a physio so take the above as "chat" rather than a diagnosis.
 

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Matt Otto has done a youtube on this very subject and demonstrates the daily exercises he used to keep his RSI at bay.
Just search his YouTube videos and you'll find it

Cheers
Jimu
 

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Heroin use or alcohol abuse? Thank God I don't know what RSI is.
I say practice smarter, not harder. Even those guys probably slowed their practice routines as they were performing more.
 

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Non Resident SOTW Eccentric & 2012 Forum Contribut
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musicians health has articles from docs and physios ... lots of info about exercises and stretches for specific instruments

Could also be that P & C's instruments fit their hands and bodies well


Milandro ... do I detect just a touch of cynicism my friend LOL.
 

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a little bit :) ........but I am genuinely interested about the fact that even an illness with clear origins in a mechanical action of the body can be influenced by the attention which it receives from the media. Mind you a psychosomatic ailment or a psychosomatic full blown disease are not less significant or painful or dangerous because their root is in the mind !
 

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Heroin use or alcohol abuse? Thank God I don't know what RSI is.
I say practice smarter, not harder. Even those guys probably slowed their practice routines as they were performing more.
I must say I never felt the effects of RSI while I was abusing. Afterwards, I found that just staying very relaxed and practicing slowly and with thought really reduced any ill effects.
 

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I think it's because he was young. Your body can take a lot of abuse when you are young. You should take a 10 minute break every hour and try not to be tense.
 

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WARNING: Folksy story below.

Last night we went to see my wife's "crazy uncle" in the hospital. He has a varicose ulcer on one leg, gangrene in the other hip, a fractured femur/hip and about ten stomach and intestinal ulcers. The doctor asked him why he hadn't been screaming in pain for months? His answer was a hand full of Advil everyday followed by a case of beer.

When you are constancy intoxicated, you can obviously bare just about anything for years with few complaints. It's probably the only up side of substance abuse.
 

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Non Resident SOTW Eccentric & 2012 Forum Contribut
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a little bit :) ........but I am genuinely interested about the fact that even an illness with clear origins in a mechanical action of the body can be influenced by the attention which it receives from the media. Mind you a psychosomatic ailment or a psychosomatic full blown disease are not less significant or painful or dangerous because their root is in the mind !
Sooo true amigo. The mind can cure cancer with laughter (documented proven cases of "spondaneous" remission) and the mind can cause cancer by depressing the body. Mens Sana In Corpore Sano eh
 

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Rsi isn't something that's inevitable.....
 
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